Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has taken steps to increase opportunities for small and diverse businesses to compete for state contracts. In a press release, Shapiro recognized the need to help these businesses grow, succeed, and create good-paying jobs. To address this, he signed Executive Order 2023-18, which aims to make the Commonwealth procurement process more accessible.
During their campaign, both Governor Shapiro and Lt. Governor Austin Davis emphasized their commitment to empowering small and diverse businesses to expand economic opportunities and build generational wealth. Shapiro believes that supporting these businesses is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.
The Executive Order directs the Department of General Services (DGS) to coordinate efforts with other agencies to increase their spending and participation in the Small Business Reserve program (SBR). This will ensure that more money flows into the hands of small and diverse businesses. Additionally, the DGS will develop a new methodology to determine the income limit for small businesses, resulting in more businesses qualifying for assistance.
To further promote inclusion, the Executive Order establishes the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Inclusive Procurement (PACIP). PACIP will provide guidance to Commonwealth agencies on making state contracting opportunities more inclusive. Lieutenant Governor Davis will chair PACIP, with DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil and PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll as co-vice chairs.
Transparency and accountability are also prioritized under the Shapiro Administration. As part of this commitment, DGS will publish semi-annual data on each agency’s total operating expenditure for SBR procurement.
Data released by the state office show progress in increasing spending on contracts with diverse small businesses. Since Executive Order 2015-11 was signed in 2015, the total amount spent by diverse small businesses has risen from 4.9% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2022. The Shapiro administration has already made significant strides in supporting diverse small businesses, including reducing certification time and implementing a timely payment policy for state contracts.
DGS and PennDOT will work together to enhance the contracting environment to further increase small business and diverse small business spending. They will also conduct outreach activities and provide technical support to qualified small businesses interested in competing for state contracts. Both agencies will designate employees to serve on an interagency working group to assist PACIP in its goals.
In conclusion, Governor Shapiro’s Executive Order aims to level the playing field for small and diverse businesses to compete for state contracts in Pennsylvania. By prioritizing accessibility, transparency, and support, the administration hopes to foster economic growth, strengthen communities, and provide better results for all Pennsylvanians.